Ramakanta Biswas

With people in Odisha celebrating Holi in myriad colours, three major political parties in the State drenched in the hues with an eye on the crucial 2024 elections. 

Giving a colourful start to the preparations for 2024 elections, leaders and supporters of the ruling-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Opposition-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress- used the occasion to blend with the masses. 

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan celebrated Holi in Bhubaneswar while Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Sarat Pattanayak dipped in the festivities in Rourkela. Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati also celebrated the occasion in his home turf.

On the other hand, Ministers Samir Dash and Ashok Panda and MLA Amar Satpathy played Holi with party workers and supporters in Bhubaneswar.

The BJP has shifted its focus to Odisha in order to capture power in the 2024 Assembly elections. As a part of its strategy for Mission 2024, the central leadership is frequently visiting the State to give success mantras to the party leaders.

On the contrary, the Congress party, which is not in a good position now, has prepared a blueprint to announce a committee and take on the BJP and BJD. 

Moreover, the entry of K Chandrashekar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) into Odisha politics might have some impact on the upcoming elections. 

“The faith of Odisha people in BJP has increased. The BJP, which used to get 17-18 per cent vote share is now showcasing its ability to garner 35-40 per cent vote. In order to get more support of people in the coming elections, the BJP will reach out to people with its achievements in the past nine years,” said Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Congress leader Jayadev Jena said, “Our preparations have begun with the celebration of Holi. Next year, we will be amid election at this time. The people of Odisha will decide who would come to power and who would face defeat.”

“I am hopeful that the election schedule will be announced by March 5 and all the residents of Odisha would wish that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would come to power again for the sixth time.”

Reported by Chandan Paikray, Soumya Ranjan Sahoo and Jagdish Das, OTV